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SVG: Imaging`s Pot of Gold?


Flash might be wonderful for many graphics tasks, but SVG can do everything Flash can do and more. Plus, it's open source, which makes it easy to take a look. Even Flash addicts might find themselves swayed to try it out. (This article was originally published in the May issue of Plug-In).

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January 11, 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · SVG: Imaging`s Pot of Gold?
  2. · The best part: it's open source
  3. · Taking aim at Flash

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SVG: Imaging`s Pot of Gold?
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SVG seems at first glance to be a solution to the alphabet soup of choices designers face when creating their web graphics. Instead of .pdf, .bmp, .png, .gif, or .swf, designers would use .svg, saving themselves the compromises they would otherwise be forced to make.

Beyond simply creating high-end 2D graphics using XML tags, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) also uses CSS for styling, has W3C recommendation, and has the thumbs up of heavy hitters the likes of Adobe, Apple, Canon, Corel, Hewlett-Packard, Macromedia, Microsoft, Kodak, Sun, and Apache. SVG Tag sampling includes Shape Tags, Paint Tags, Text Tags, Filter Tags, Animation Tags, Miscellaneous Tags and more. Circles, filters, special effects and line art are options readily available with SVG.  Although it is not recommended for photographs, photos can be embedded into SVG files.

Developers know that vector graphics are resolution independent. That means they are scalable with no loss of quality. The real bonus comes on the disk scale, however. Vector graphics weigh in for less than high-quality raster (pixel) images.

Table 1 SVG, Flash GIF, PNG, and PDF compared.

FeatureSVGFlashGIFPNGPDF
Vector artworkYesYesYes
Alpha Channel TransparencyYesYesYesYes
Pixel-Precise LayoutYesYesYesYesYes
Typeface SelectionYesYesYes
Typeface EmbeddingYesYesYesYesYes
GradientsYesYesYesYesYes
MaskingYesYesYes
Shared Resources (fonts, symbols, text) across multiple filesYes
Open StandardYesYes
Live Filter EffectsYes
Pinpoint Invalid CodeYes
ExtensibleYes
AnimationYesYesYes
InteractionYesYesYes
Filesize CompressionYesYesYesYesYes
Editable ExecutableYesYesYesYes


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